Inhuman Swill : Page 69
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Absolut zero

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Ice Station Tokyo
We may be sitting directly in the path of a typhoon, but at least we're living it up at Icebar Tokyo.

We hit it with Craig Engler and Brooks Peck. All the drinks are made with Absolut vodka, your glass is made of ice, and you're only allowed to be inside for forty-five minutes. You have to make the time count.

We did.

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Congrats to Tim Pratt!

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I'm thrilled that Tim Pratt won a Hugo last night. Paul Melko accepted it, and it was my supreme honor to sit next to Tim's Hugo. Okay, who am I kidding? We passed it down the row and all took turns holding it. Cory Doctorow might have licked it, I'm not sure.

I was disappointed not to win, of course, but we've had a great time this week, with more great times to come today. Congrats to Robert Reed also, and all the winners!

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Roppongi

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Much longer ago than "this morning," we hauled our tired asses out of bed, hauled our luggage to the train, and hied ourselves to O'Hare. Check-in was delightfully pleasant, our cruise through security simplicity itself, and to say that our thirteen-hour flight to Japan seemed much quicker than our recent eight-hour flight from Chicago to New York would be an understatement roughly the size of the Pacific.

We sailed through immigration, baggage claim, and customs at Narita, and after two uneventful hours of train travel (with some unasked-for directions from kind commuters), we made it to Tokyo and our hotel. We wandered the streets of Roppongi until the desk clerk's directions began to make sense, and we had the amazing meal we were hunting for at a robatayaki called Inakaya, where two cooks sit across a wide counter from you and fry up the selections you point to from the cornucopia of foods spread between. There is much ritualized shouting, and the food is served to you by the cooks on an eight-foot paddle, without them getting up. The whole red snapper we ate Laura named Bob. I named my tiger prawn Paul. Don't ask us why.

Our waiter kindly took our picture, and then he showed us the restaurant's photo book, full of pictures of patrons like Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Cameron Diaz, Peter Jackson, Viggo Mortenson, Keith Richards, and so on. They will be opening a location next year on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan.

The tiniest bit tipsy on sake, we wandered Roppongi again, this time in search of the Absolut Ice Bar. We didn't find it, but I am determined to get there on our return to Tokyo next week and sip vodka from an ice glass whilst wrapped in a Swedish cloak.

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Last of the packing

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We leave for Japan in a little less than ten hours. I'd better get some sleep!

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ShunnCast #48

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Epidode #48 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill attempts to convince you to order his brand-new six-pack chapbook—only five bucks!—and a definition for the term "chapbook" itself is sought.

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=48

See also [info]shunncast.

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August's CD mix of the month

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I understand that the August CD Mix of the Month Club meeting had to be postponed until September. (They're now meeting every other month. CDMOEOM?) Still, I pulled a mix down off the shelf for August. Memories of the Reagan Administration is a distillation of the kind of stuff I was seeking out on alternative radio during my musical coming-of-age. Until my senior year of high school, I listened mostly to jazz and classical piano. This is some of the music that helped open my head to other sounds. It seemed an appropriate mix to accompany my 40th birthday.

I hope you'll click the album cover and check out it and the back cover at full size. Of all the many disc covers I've made, I think I like this one the best.

Oh, by the way, this disc is on its way now to the four of you out there who were runners-up in my mix disc giveaway from a couple of months back. Watch your mailboxes!

(The story so far.)

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July's CD mix of the month

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Even if I could have attended, there was no July CD Mix of the Month Club meeting. Still, I had a mix for July—Welcome. I made this mix last year, and while it wasn't intended as a welcome-to-the-new-home mix, I have nonetheless deployed it in that context.

I remain in touch with the CDMOM gang, and in fact my birthday dinner at Morton's was a result of their kind largesse. Thanks, folks, and I'll keep those mixes coming!

(The story so far.)

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Introducing my chapbook!

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My chapbook An Alternate History of the 21st Century (introduction by Cory Doctorow, illustrations by Mattias Adolfsson, edited and published by John Klima) is now out and available! But since you might be sick of hearing me talk about it by now, I'll let John Klima and Cory Doctorow tell you more in their respective blogs.

In fact, Cory's introduction to the chapbook is Creative Commons–licensed, so I'll reproduce it here:

Bill Shunn is a legend in certain circles. Long before I met him, I'd had many people regale me with the story of how he once threatened to blow up an airplane in Canada on behalf of the Church of Latter-day Saints. The story—incredible, hilarious, sad and instructive—is too long to recount here. Suffice it to say that it ends with Bill getting a rectal probe from a Mountie, trying to convert a drunk in the tank to Mormonism, and then being deported from Canada as a terrorist (the whole thing is recounted in engrossing detail on Bill's website and podcast). In my mental shorthand, I thought of Bill as "that Mormon terrorist skiffy writer."

But once I met Bill, that changed. He was developing geo-hacker software for handheld computers—this was before Big Bird hired him to program the computers at the Children's Television Network—and he was nothing like my mental image. I'd expected someone with the fresh-faced earnestness of the door-to-door Mormons who'd roused me on Saturday mornings (albeit I also expected a mad, terrorist glint in his eye). What I found instead was a hip, ironic, funny guy that I took an immediate liking to. I introduced him immediately to my pal Karl Schroeder, a skiffy writer who comes from Mennonite stock, on the grounds that they'd probably have a lot to talk about. They did.

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My beautiful, brave.wife.

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8 hours

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That's how long a flight from Chicago to New York will take you. Today, anyway. But we're here, and if we hadn't flown standby on an earlier flight than the one we booked, we might not have left Chicago at all.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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